PREPARING FOR YOUR FLORIDA KEYS FISHING VACATION

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Recently I had an angler that travels to the Florida Keys a few times a year to ask what he would need to practice at home, and then be able to bring with him to the Keys and be comfortable with - such as rods and gear that could easily be carried on a plane and unpacked quickly to fish once he arrived. 

I recommended two rods that could do almost everything. One rod would work for bonefish, redfish, snook, and small tarpon or permit. The best rod I found is the St. Croix Tidemaster Inshore Travel Spinning Rod in 7' and a line weight of 8 - 14lb. The rod I recommend for permit, large snook, and throwing plugs for most tarpon is the St. Croix Tidemaster Inshore Travel Spinning Rod in 7' 6" with a line weight of 10 - 20lb. These will allow you to practice with rods that you will use to target fish when accuracy matters. 

I recommend using the Shimano Stradic 3000 with 10 lb braid on the 7' rod, and the Shaimano Stradic 4000 with 15lb braid on the 7' 6". With the 4000 you could alternately use 10lb braid on the spare spool for permit if you want extra capacity and casting distance. 

When assembling the rods for fishing it would be best to place electrical tape over the ferrules to prevent accidental separation while fishing. 

If serious sight fishing is your goal,  and you want to be ready for the day invest in a set of pliers to be worn on your belt to quickly rig or unhook a fish. Amber lense sunglasses that fit close to your face to block out all light, a comfortable hat with a black underbill, and some sort of buff face mask are all a most. These will all help your vision and cut down on glare. As a final note, wear clothes that will keep you comfortable, and out of the sun all day, along with a pair of shoes that are quiet and comfortable for standing.